London's Catholic primary school has 90 pc Muslims
London, July 16 (ANI): A Catholic primary school, in London, that was built in the 1930s to cater to large numbers of Irish families moving to the area, now boasts of 90 percent Muslim students.
All pupils at the Rosary Catholic Primary, irrespective of their religion, attend Catholic assemblies in the morning and Mass at the nearby church, while crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary line the corridors.
But only around 40 pupils out of 400 are Catholics - the rest are mostly Muslims of Pakistani origin.
The school is among a few dozen Catholic primaries, mainly in the Midlands and North West, where Muslims now outnumber churchgoing children.
At Rosary, in the Saltley area of Birmingham, some of the pupils' parents are Imams and some live in nearby Mosques.
"This is a changing parish like all parishes in strong Muslim neighbourhoods," the Daily Mail quoted Father Bernard Kelly, the local parish priest and Rosary's chairman of governors, as saying.
"Our school is largely made up of Muslim children whose parents are happy to have them attend a Christian school. For the church, this is a new reality.
"At school, the pupils hear about the teachings of Jesus but they are not imposed on them. I'm sure we will be here in another 80 years' time. Why not?" he said.
The primary school, along with a church and a secondary school, were set up in the 1930s to serve a large Irish Catholic population.
Eighty years on, Ofsted has praised the school for 'outstanding' work promoting cohesion among diverse local communities.
"We follow the Catholic Diocese programme for religious education which pupils are taught for ten to 15 per cent of the week," John Gubbins, the school's headmaster, said.
All pupils, aged three to 11, take part in plays to celebrate Christmas and Easter, while Muslim holydays are also marked.
At the same time, the school also provides opportunities for 'multi-faith prayer'.
Most pupils who arrive at the school do not have English as their first language.
"When I came here 11 years ago, it was 30 per cent Catholic and 70 per cent Muslim," Gubbins said.
"In September, eight out of our intake of 50 pupils will be Catholic, and many of them are from Polish or African families," he added. (ANI)
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